Unemployment hearing – phone or in person?

Posted by: Mar 23, 2015By Brian Stutheit

Unemployment appeal hearing officers say it makes no difference to them whether a witness appears for an unemployment hearing personally, or by phone. It does sometimes make a difference. In person hearings are conducted in a hearing officer’s office, at a conference table. If both sides appear in person, they will be seated across from each other at the table, with the hearing officer at the head of the table. If one side appears by phone, that will be done by putting its witnesses on a speaker phone.

Reasons to appear in person:
If your credibility is in question, and you present well, it is better to make your case face to face.
If there are documents or photos which are important to discuss, you can do that better in person.
If we or our clients believe the other side will be less likely to lie if confronted face to face. However, we usually do not know until the day of the hearing if the opponent will appear by phone, or in person.
We have a subpoena for records pending. The party subpoenaed often does not produce its records until the day of the hearing. It is easier to review the records in person, than by fax or email.

Reasons to appear by phone:
Cost savings. Stutheit & Gartland must charge more to go to a hearing than for participating from our office. Also, hearings do not always finish in the time the hearing office has allotted. This may mean two trips.
Nerves/anxiety/ anger management. Some people just do better when not staring across the table at their adversary.
Communication with your lawyer. You and your lawyer can exchange notes and whisper ideas back and forth without antagonizing the hearing officer. This can be valuable.

This discussion only pertains to appeals hearings out of the Denver office of unemployment appeals.
Hearings in Colorado Springs and outlying areas are by phone only.